Obama Endorses "Free Trade" and Peru Trade Pact that Unions Oppose

Obama said he would vote for a Peruvian trade agreement next week, in response to a question from a man in Londonderry, NH who called NAFTA and CAFTA a disaster for American workers. He said he supported the trade agreement with Peru because it contained the labor and environmental standards sought by groups like the AFL-CIO, despite the voter's protests to the contrary.

He also affirmed his support for free trade. "I am not going to say on a blanket basis that I'm going to vote against trade agreements," Obama said. "We cannot draw a moat around the u.s. economy b/c china is still trading, India is still trading."

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2 007/10/09/403888.aspx

David Sirota notes that Obama appears to be choosing the Hamilton Project ideology over labor:

The AFL-CIO does not support the Peruvian agreement, and the labor/environmental standards leave enforcement up to the Bush administration, rather than empowering third parties to enforce them (like corporations have the power to enforce investor rights provisions in these same trade agreements).
Obama is the first presidential candidate to officially declare his/her support for the NAFTA expansion moving through the Congress. His announcement is not necessarily surprising, considering he was the keynote speaker at the launch of the Hamilton Project - a Wall Street front group working to drive a wedge between Democrats and organized labor on globalization issues.  

http://www.workingassetsblog.com/2007/10 /breaking_obama_says_he_will_vo.html

Change to Win, a coalition of 7 unions, including the Teamsters, LIUNA, the Carpenters, and UniteHere oppose this Trade Pact:

Change to Win Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Opposing the Oman and Peru Free Trade Agreements
June 15, 2006

RE: Oppose Free Trade Agreements for Oman and Peru

Dear Representative:

The United States Trade Representative has indicated that she will soon ask Congress to approve both the Oman and the Peru Free Trade Agreements (FTA).  On behalf of the 6 million members of the Change to Win unions, I strongly urge you to oppose both of these Agreements, which follow the same failed trade policies of NAFTA and CAFTA.


Unfortunately, by using the same failed model as we saw in CAFTA, and actually making it worse, the USTR has failed to negotiate an agreement that will in fact better the lives of workers and the countries involved. We ask that you oppose both the Oman FTA and the Peru FTA.  


Anna Burger

http://www.changetowin.org/issues/trade- and-globalization/change-to-win-letter-t o-the-us-house-of-representatives-opposi ng-the-oman-and-peru-free-trade-agreemen ts.html

This is a bad bill and it should be defeated.  Haven't we learned from NAFTA?

Tags: Barack Obama, Fair Trade, free trade, NAFTA, Peru trade pact, Unions, worker's rights (all tags)



Re: Obama Endorses Peru Trade Pact

Democrats should vote no on this.

by TomP 2007-10-09 02:11PM | 0 recs
I don't know enough about this

bill, but per usual you offer a well thought out diary.  Thanks.

by bookgrl 2007-10-09 02:19PM | 0 recs
Thank you, bookgrl.
I really appreciate that. I've been a "book guy" since I was a kid.  We have that in common.
Thank you very much.
by TomP 2007-10-09 02:25PM | 0 recs
Rep. Jim McDermott approves of the Peru trade bill

Ways and Means Members Support US-Peru FTA

WASHINGTON - The House Committee on Ways and Means today approved draft implementing language for the US-Peru free trade agreement (FTA) by voice vote, signaling strong bipartisan support for the accord. The Peru FTA is the first agreement to incorporate key changes in trade policy to include basic labor standards, stronger environmental provisions and expanded access to life-saving medicines. Below you will find quotes from Democratic members of the Ways and Means Committee expressing their support for this new approach to trade policy and the US-Peru FTA:

Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA):

"Trade is about people more than it is about goods and services produced; trade is about the policies and commitment of our great nation to make the world a better place. With this agreement today we are leading the world by raising the bar to a new level to protect workers and the environment. This is a defining moment and one we can be proud of."

Rep. McDermott is a highly trustworthy progressive Democrat. I strongly recommend you to quote and link to this in the diary post. Thank you.

by NeuvoLiberal 2007-10-09 04:15PM | 0 recs
Don't tell me

you support this, NL.

Or do you have some animus toward Peruvian farmers?

by david mizner 2007-10-09 04:56PM | 0 recs
Demagogue much, David?


I support native farming and their communities.

However, the responsibility of defending Peruvian farmers is on the shoulders of Peruvian people and their government first, in case you are missing that point.

Have they brought up the farmer's issue and attempted to make that portion of the agreement good for their farming community. If so, please provide the details on that, we try to digest things and then try to get our members of congress  to heed their concerns.

We can't be running Peruvian govt (which is some sort of a democracy, apparently) for Peruvian people.

by NeuvoLiberal 2007-10-09 06:04PM | 0 recs
in the case that a foreign government is

being brutal and inhumanitarian, then our US progressive movement should stand up for the rights of the ordinary people.

It's possible that the Peruvian govt is being callous to its own farmers (from say greed and corruption), but unless we look at what they tried to negotiate on that aspect, if they did, we can't pass judgements. If they did try to factor in protection of their farming sector but are making a choice upon negotiation, there is only so much a US (Dem) politician can do (hence the US progressives) to stand up the Peruvian farmers sidestepping Peru's govt. In other words, the movement has to come from the Peruvian people's side, and when it does, we should help as much as we can from our side.

That's my point with the last sentence above.

by NeuvoLiberal 2007-10-09 07:27PM | 0 recs
on non-farming aspects, the word is that

this deal appears to be an improvement over previous trade bills and much work has gone into it to make a better template for trade agreements. I don't know the details, and won't stake out a view unless and until I do that.

Political posturing comes in the way of working to make better policies too often.

by NeuvoLiberal 2007-10-09 06:07PM | 0 recs
Re: on non-farming aspects, the word is that

Isn't McDermott usually pro-free-trade anyway? Trade's usually a pretty good thing for areas with large ports.

by adamterando 2007-10-09 06:45PM | 0 recs
McDermott voted against CAFTA and China MFN

Long time back, he did vote for NAFTA. His record is mixed overall, but he did vote against the major items in the last decade. I just learned about his record and posted at DKos. Reposting:

Jim McDermott on Free Trade

   * Voted NO on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade. (Jul 2005)
    * Voted YES on implementing US-Australia Free Trade Agreement. (Jul 2004)
    * Voted NO on implementing US-Singapore free trade agreement. (Jul 2003)
    * Voted NO on implementing free trade agreement with Chile. (Jul 2003)
    * Voted NO on withdrawing from the WTO. (Jun 2000)
    * Voted YES on 'Fast Track' authority for trade agreements. (Sep 1998)
    * Rated 50% by CATO, indicating a mixed record on trade issues. (Dec 2002)
    * No MFN for China; condition trade on human rights. (Nov 1999)

by NeuvoLiberal 2007-10-09 07:09PM | 0 recs
Of course they should

and in fact most Dems in the House oppose it, the safeguards not withstanding. And I'm confident that Edwards will oppose it, and then a clear difference between Edwards and Obama will be clarified. Obama can yammer on about fair trade and play the populist, but here's an actual vote, and he's on the wrong side. And don't you love the timing: Obama announces his intentions a day after SEUI decided not to endorse.

http://nwlaborpress.org/2007/10-5-07Trad e.html

But several other provisions in the treaty drew criticism from the AFL-CIO, including a ban on any new law requiring a government to buy only domestic-made goods or services; and the right of foreign corporations to sue the government (that would give foreign investors greater rights than U.S. investors have under the U.S. Constitution.) Such provisions have become standard in the so-called "free trade" agreements the United States now has with 15 countries.

But if it's bad for American workers, it's catastrophic for Peruvian farmers, which is why they overwhelmingly oppose it. Peru can't afford to subsidize its farmers the way the U.S. does, so when Peru drops its tarriffs, farmers there will be devastated.

by david mizner 2007-10-09 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Of course they should

What's the chances Peru will nix the deal?

by adamterando 2007-10-09 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

Quick question Tom.

Have you read the bill?  Have you read any in-depth analysis of it?  If so...can you share it?

I'm not usually a pro trade-pact guy, but since you say it is a bad bill, I assume you have more knowledge about it than you've shared thus far.    

by AdamSmithsHand 2007-10-09 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

This bill has NOTHING to do with NAFTA.  This was a deal, independently negotiated.  Again, not part of the NAFTA agreement, period.  And for the record Obama was not in the senate during the NAFTA fiasco, and he did not vote for CAFTA.

by iamready 2007-10-09 03:16PM | 0 recs
Obama said NO to CAFTA. Edwards Yea on China MFN

Obama's vote against CAFTA:

Senate Roll call

Question:  On Passage of the Bill (S. 1307 )
Vote Number:     170    Vote Date:     June 30, 2005, 09:34 PM
Required For Majority:     1/2    Vote Result:     Bill Passed
Measure Number:     S. 1307
Measure Title:     A bill to implement the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement.
Vote Counts:    YEAs    54
    NAYs    45
    Not Voting    1

Illinois:    Durbin (D-IL), Nay    Obama (D-IL), Nay

Edwards voted for China MFN, despite the fact that NC has a lot of unions employed in the textile industry (and hence even the Republican Jesse Helms voted against it):

Senate Rollcall

Question:  On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 4444 )
Vote Number:     251    Vote Date:     September 19, 2000, 02:21 PM
Required For Majority:     1/2    Vote Result:     Bill Passed
Measure Number:     H.R. 4444
Measure Title:     To authorize extension of nondiscriminatory treatment (normal trade relations treatment) to the People's Republic of China, and to establish a framework for relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
Vote Counts:    YEAs    83
    NAYs    15
    Not Voting    2

North Carolina:    Edwards (D-NC), Yea    Helms (R-NC), Nay

This vote alone shows that Edwards' talk about being pro-worked and pro-unions is all talk (and the posturing by him and by some of his supporters is demagoguery).


Furthermore, Edwards said:

Published: February 24, 2004

''I believe that Nafta should exist,'' Mr. Edwards told editors and reporters of The New York Times at a meeting yesterday in New York, as he sought endorsements heading into next Tuesday's primary. ''I think Nafta is important -- it is an important part of our global economy, an important part of our trade relations.''


Unless the diarist explains exactly how the Peru agreement does not meet labor and environmental protections using proper analyis (linking to Sirota's post which itself is not a rigorous treatement is not good enough), this diary can be filed under the demagoguery category.

by NeuvoLiberal 2007-10-09 03:40PM | 0 recs
Obama voted YES with Repubs on Oman!

While plotting his prez run, Obama voted YES on the Oman FTA LAST YEAR!!! - which had NO labor or environmental standards. Obama was easily led....

>>>>>Finally, Obama. What can I say? He told me in my interview with him that he was serious about demanding stronger labor, environmental and human rights protections in trade deals. But in his speech that attempted to justify his vote, he simply said that "I have been informed by the State Department that Oman has been a valuable partner for the United States ." Put another way, he's telling us because the Bush political hacks at the State Department ignored that agency's own damning reports about Oman 's record and told him to vote for the pact, he did. Sad.


by annefrank 2007-10-09 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama voted YES with Repubs on Oman!


by world dictator 2007-10-09 08:32PM | 0 recs
Here is information on this bill.


by iamready 2007-10-09 03:24PM | 0 recs
Well, I think Rangel should be commended

for this bill, but if there are issues dealing with enforcement, I'm interested. But generally Charley Rangel should be commended for brokering what sounds like a fair trade deal. Again, I really don't have enough information to form an opinion on this deal at this point.  I'm not anti-fair trade.

by bookgrl 2007-10-09 03:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I think Rangel should be commended

I am getting additional information and will post it.  Again, this has nothing to do with NAFTA/CAFTA as the diarist is indicating.

by iamready 2007-10-09 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I think Rangel should be commended

Here is the verbal exchange made in the NH Townhall Meeting:

Q: One of the problems that we face here is loss of jobs due to immigration.  Next week there will be a vote on including Peru under NAFTA.  I understand that you're favoring including Peru.  I don't understand how you can do this, sir.  It will not do anything for Peruvian workers, it will not do anything for American workers and what it did for Mexicans is create the loss of a million farms in Mexico moving those people into urban areas where there were no jobs, increasing the immigration both illegal and legal in to this country.  NAFTA and CAFTA have not done anything for working class people anywhere it's been put into effect.  Only the stockholders and large corporations gain by this - not America workers or the workers of any other country.  I want to know how you intend to vote on this next week.

BO: I agree with half of what you say. I think that NAFTA and CAFTA did not reflect the interests of American workers but reflected the interests of the stock owners on Wall Street.

Because they did not contain the sorts of labor provisions and environmental provisions that should have been embedded and should have been enforceable in those agreements. That's why I voted against CAFTA.

I remember sitting in the White House and saying, 'you've got to show me that this administration is serious about getting worker provisions in there and environmental provisions embedded into theses agreements. And that you are dealing with the losers in trade because the burdens and benefits of globalization have not been spread evenly.'

You got the stock market sky-high. Corporate profits going up, but those workers who get laid off as a consequence of displacement, there's some sort of weak re-training program that trains people for jobs that don't exist in communities all across the country.

So I'm on record as having voted against CAFTA; I wasn't in Congress the time that NAFTA cam up.

Now, Peru, the Peruvian agreement contains the very labor agreements that labor and our allies have been asking for - I know you're shaking your head - what I'm saying is that the same provisions that we fought for, and that the AFL-CIO and other labor organizations had been asking for and that weren't contained in NAFTA - they are in this agreement.

And - [questioner inaudible] I understand and maybe we can have a discussion after this - but I have talked to the folks who have negotiated this and I've read this agreement and it contains those agreements.

Now, South Korea the South Korean trade agreement, I will vote against because it did not do what it needed to do in terms of making sure that U.S. auto makers could sell cars into Korea in the same way that Koreans are able to sell cars into the United States so it was not fair.

But what I'm not willing to do is to say is that on a blanket basis we're not going to do trade agreements. I think that would be a mistake. We can't draw a mote around the United States economy. If we do that then China is still trading, India is still going to be trading. They're still going to be engaging in this global economy and the notion that we can isolate ourselves from it, I believe is a mistake.

Last point I want to make because I haven't gotten to all the truth that you spoke. You did speak an important truth about Mexico and the consequences of NAFTA in that farmers were displaced there; they didn't benefit in the same way that many workers here didn't benefit and that has contributed to the problems with immigration as farmers are being forced off the land and they urbanize and then ultimately try to make their way up to the United States.

And one of the things that we do have to make certain of is that we are working with Mexico to provide decent jobs and opportunity to their workers there. And if we are not having those conversations with Mexico and if there's growing inequality in Mexico as there is growing inequality here then we're not going to be able to solve the immigration crisis, so I agree with you on that.


by iamready 2007-10-09 03:56PM | 0 recs
He knows better than to make that blanket

statement about NAFTA.  NAFTA was supposed to grow the mexican economy thereby stem the flow of unauthorized immigration, and offer a larger market for american products to mexico an canada.  No one expected all the jobs to go to China and India.  

by bookgrl 2007-10-09 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: He knows better than to make that blanket

The way NAFTA was structured, it did not nullify any other countries.  That was the loophole.  One that we are in right now.  That is why many lawmakers will say "re-do or re-work NAFTA", none say throw it off the table, except Kucinich.

by iamready 2007-10-09 04:10PM | 0 recs
Well, hind sight is 20/20.

The idea wasn't to send jobs to China and India.  Yes, that's what happened but it wasn't predicted.  Obama knows NAFTA wasn't written simply for Wall Street.

by bookgrl 2007-10-09 04:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, hind sight is 20/20.

Of course he knows that, this is just direct conversation.  We all get bent out of shape with NAFTA, when in reality, we can not do anything about it.  Not one pres candidate is for tossing NAFTA except Kucinich.  We do have to deal with things globally, but the loopholes got away from us, that dog has ran and won't be back.  And until Americans want to change their spending habits of buying "on the cheap", this will continue.  Supply/Demand.  Yes.  We complain.  But who actually goes and look for U.S.A. only?  That is if you can find it.  Anyway, no biggie.

by iamready 2007-10-09 04:48PM | 0 recs
That's not what I said at all.

It's fine.  Most people are that knowledgable of NAFTA.

by bookgrl 2007-10-09 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, hind sight is 20/20.

Very Very good post iamready

I get tired of knee jerk reactionism from anti-trade people. Just because you see the word trade agreement or free trade does not mean that the bill or whatever is bad.

Look...trade is inevitable. Call it free trade call it fair trade whatever. And when that inevitable trade happens some people will inevitably lose jobs and some will gain jobs. Sometimes its in the US sometimes its not.

But regardless of the trade deals the US is benefiting on some levels. Not its not just evil corporations who benefit its people who can afford  to buy cheaper products here in the US (IE poor people) and it's poor people who didn't have dirt in other countries.

Look, I'm a democrat so I'm not in favoring of especially screwing over any groups of people. But people can't expect union members to live in a vacuum where they will never lose jobs. We should focus on ways to make US workers MORE competitive and better advantaged rather than trying to stop trade.

by world dictator 2007-10-09 08:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I think Rangel should be commended

Oh my - more deception from Obama!!
He voted against CAFTA in 2005 because there were NO labor or environmental protections. Then voted YES on the Oman FTA in 2006 which had NO labor or environmental protections.

So - which is it Obama?
Either you were lying to the questioner - or lying to yourself.

by annefrank 2007-10-09 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I think Rangel should be commended

you really need to give it a break, truly you do.

by iamready 2007-10-09 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I think Rangel should be commended

that won't happen until the $ key breaks on her keyboard.

by dblhelix 2007-10-09 10:01PM | 0 recs
Against All Trade Agreements?

Are you looking for a candidate who is going to be against all trade agreements? If so, good luck with that one.

by HatchInBrooklyn 2007-10-09 03:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Against All Trade Agreements?

No just agreements that give foreign investors greater rights than citizens of our own country, and that limit our basic rights of democracy by outlawing our ability to self-govern.

by adamterando 2007-10-09 06:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

This is a very good example of what I love about Obama.  He'll tell you what don't want to right to your face if he thinks it's right, consequences be damned, and shake your hand afterward.  Howard Dean had that, too.  Obama does not pander for votes; he doesn't look for cheap applause, he's not angling toward every interest group, and he's not going to sacrifice what he thinks are the best policies for America just to win your vote.  I remember reading where in the early stages of putting together his campaign, he told his advisers that win or lose he wanted to come out of the process "still as Barack Obama."  I think he's struck true to that, and win or lose, people will continue to respect him.

by freepursuits 2007-10-09 03:46PM | 0 recs
I don't read it that way

He is trying to get the "I'm serious because I will say things that you disagree with.  Tell me something, I'll disagree"

I think it's just oppositionalism.  

And it is very misguided in this case.  Free-trade deals need rethinking very much at this point.  

by dataguy 2007-10-09 03:56PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't read it that way

It's not being the opposition for sake of being the opposition, it's having a position on trade that is not going to be dictated by labor unions, Wall Street, or anybody else but Barack Obama.  Obama recognizes that there are winners and losers in trade, and indeed wants to help the losers, but at the same time believes that there are benefits and that we can expand those benefits by embracing trade rather than trying to cut ourselves off of from it, a proposition which will only hurt our economy in the long-run by setting us further behind where the rest of the world's great economic powers are going.

And if you don't like his position, he's not going to nuance it just to get your vote.  He'll tell you what he thinks, and if you don't like it, he hopes you'll agree with him on other things enough for you to consider him for your vote.  But he's not going to pander for your vote and not be who he is, for casting false impressions will only creating liabilities that he believes are not in the best interest of the country should he become President.  

by freepursuits 2007-10-09 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't read it that way

Now you tell me how the hell a free trade agreement with freakin' Peru is going to help anyone except businesses who want cheap land and cheap labor.

by adamterando 2007-10-09 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't read it that way

I'm not intimately familiar with peruvian trade prospects or this legislation, but generally cheap land and cheap labor correlates with lower prices vis-a-vis the produce from said farm. This potentially benefits consumers in this country.

I'm not saying there is no basis for regulating this trade, you just wanted to know a benefit to americans from such an arrangement.

I'm generally in support of free markets so long as transactions meet certain standards of procedural justice and there is a well-regulated system of social insurance in place to spread the risk of loss among those in the market. I also think that principles of equal opportunity require that all participants in the market be subject to the similar legal burdens (e.g., labor and environmental regs). But, free trade is not in itself objectionable. As the nobel prize winning economist/philosopher Amartya Sen once said in an interview (paraphrasing): "being against trade is like being against conversation. It's just exchange."

by DPW 2007-10-09 09:10PM | 0 recs
Re: I don't read it that way

I encourage you to read Robert Reich's recent blog post on the farm bill at robertreich.blogspot.com.  In there he talks a lot about U.S. farm subsidies, but he says a lot about agricultural economies throughout the world and how our tariffs put many of them, especially those in extreme poverty, at a disadvantage throughout the world economy.  

For one, through free trade deals such as the one with Peru we can get cheaper goods in this country which benefits our consumers.  Everybody likes to talk about job losses and trade, but no one seems to mention that you can by your kids two times as many toys at Christmas thanks to trade.  Secondly, the ability to avoid tariffs can help Peruvian businesses save money that they can then use to produce more goods and sell to other markets, bringing up their economy and helping their workers.  And third, America needs to adapt to the competition, for whether Lou Dobbs likes it or not, it's coming.  Through these free trade deals, American industries are forced to compete, which in the long run will help our industries.  

by freepursuits 2007-10-10 02:20AM | 0 recs
Labor/Environmental Standards

The reason most labor groups aren't supporting the agreement, if not outright opposing it, is that enforcing the standards will be difficult. An individual or labor group will have to complain to the government (which will be lobbied equally by corporations to stop lawsuits), who will then pursue a lawsuit against another government. This rarely happens. But a corporation can sue to protect their investor rights without having to petition the government to intervene.

by clarkent 2007-10-09 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Labor/Environmental Standards

That's a fair trade if I ever saw one!

by adamterando 2007-10-09 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

Good for Obama.  I haven't read the particulars of this bill, but I respect candidates who are willing to go out on the limb for reducing trade barriers.

by markjay 2007-10-09 04:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

Agreed.  Unfortunately it is such a limb in the Democratic Primary and indeed across the country.  I just hope he can sell his position like the Clinton-Gore Administration did in '93.  

by freepursuits 2007-10-09 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

Yep, then we can have an exodus of Peruvian farmers looking for work in this country too. I'm sure we're all better off for it though.

by adamterando 2007-10-09 06:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

Free trade has helped Mexico in terms of their industrial goods, but our farm subsidies continue to put their agricultural industry at a disadvantage.  That is why you have Mexican farm workers coming here and not Mexican engineers.  Additionally, it is GOOD that we have Mexican workers coming here and it would not be terrible to have more immigrants from Peru.  

by freepursuits 2007-10-10 02:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

I have to agree with Obama on this one for the simple fact that i dont know enough about this bill and also the kneejerk reaction Unions will give to ANY trade agreement, whether it is fair, beneficial or poor.  There's a difference between free trade and fair trade.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-10-09 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

Please tell me why we should pass ANY trade agreement while Bush is still in office to negotiate it?

Do you trust him now to create fair trade agreements or do you just not care that corporations are given greater rights than actual human beings?

by adamterando 2007-10-09 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

Bush doesnt pass the legislation through Congress.  There is a majority of in both houses with Democrats.  The trust does not start with Bush, but the fact that I hope the Dems in Congress pass fair legislation.  If the candidates who voted NO to CAFTA are considering this piece of legislation with Peru, I am NOT going to dismiss it right off the bat.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-10-10 06:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

It's nice to see some of the well-informed comments in this diary.  I'm a fair trade sort of guy myself, but trade is a complex issue and often people don't want to rise above simplistic analysis like "free trade is good" or "free trade is bad."  I didn't really like the punch line of the diary, which asked if we've learned anything from NAFTA, since the implication seems to be that we ought to hate all trade deals.

I doubt any of us want to sound like Tom Friedman:

"We got this free market, and I admit, I was speaking out in Minnesota-my hometown, in fact, and guy stood up in the audience, said, `Mr. Friedman, is there any free trade agreement you'd oppose?' I said, `No, absolutely not.' I said, `You know what, sir? I wrote a column supporting the CAFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn't even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade."

The C in CAFTA, in case I have to explain the joke, doesn't even stand for Caribbean.

Obama is right to point to the labor and environmental standards in this pact as a positive.  I'm sympathetic, however, to the unions' point that if the only enforcement mechanism involves persuading our government to sue, it's not really tough enough.

What I'd be interested in seeing, from those who are better-informed than me, is information on what the alternative method of enforcement would be and whether it would really be practicable.  You don't want Peru to be able to blow off the labor and environmental protections in the bill, after all, but you also don't want to see an endless array of wasteful private litigation on the subject.  So I'm curious to know how the alternative would look in practice.

by Steve M 2007-10-10 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Endorses "Free Trade"

That was exactly my point above - Just because its a trade deal doesnt necessarily mean its evil.

Granted, I do not know enough about this particular deal with Peru, I am not going to wholeheartedly disagree with it just because of Nafta/Cafta -- especially since people who voted against Cafta are curious about it and wont dismiss it right off the bat.

This is one of those times when I agree with Obama's response (being an HRC supporter and all).

by sepulvedaj3 2007-10-10 07:38AM | 0 recs


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